The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

The predictions begin...

Former NDP MLA David Schreck is predicting that the B.C. Liberal Party will force Gordon Campbell out -- eventually. Schreck forecasts a November 2004 leadership vote, enough time to release a new budget and Throne Speech before the next general election scheduled for May 17, 2005.

Is the premier damaged beyond repair, as Schreck contends? I'm not so sure. Voters, especially those who are in agreement with Campbell's policies, may be willing to forginve him. It hardly matters to Campbell if the centre-left of BC considers Campbell unfit to hold office -- those voters were unlikely to give the Liberals their vote in 2005, and no doubt that the strategy behind the government's cuts to social spending reflected that fact.

What does matter is the opinion of those moderate voters who voted for Campbell because he could provide clean, competent government, the sort of government that the NDP did not give in its second term in office. If they now see Campbell as untrustworthy, especially if the facts about his drunk driving do not closely match his words at his Sunday press conference, then he's in trouble. On tat count, things may not be looking too good for Campbell.

Campbell claimed that he did not know what his blood-alcohol level was. Maui police say that Campbell would have likely been informed of his breathalyzer reading when he was tested; the machine that the Maui police uses displays the result on a screen that is visible to the person being tested. In any case, the results of the breathalyzer test have been sent from Maui to Campbell's home in Vancouver. Campbell's communications director, Andy Orr, said that the premier wil release the readings when they arrive in Vancouver. Also in question is the distance from the vacation condo of Fred Latremouille, where Campbell had been drinking, to the resort where he was staying.

Politicians who try to downplay or cover up their misdeeds, or who selectively fail to tell the public certain embarrassing facts, are rarely successful; in fact, it usually backfires. When journalists uncover facts that the politician failed to tell his or her voters, they tend to react in a manner most unpleasant -- at least to the politician who obfuscates, sidesteps, and tap-dances around those facts!

Let's face it, if Bill Clinton had just 'fessed up to getting a little noggin from Monica, only the hard-core Clinton-haters would have been after him. The fact that he tried to split hairs on the definitions of "is" and "sexual relations" hurt him more in the eyes of voters than the extramarital sex ever did.

It's still to early to assess the damage to Gordon Campbell's political career from his Maui misadventure. While he committed a serious offence, it likely would not be prosecuted as an indictable offence. It also was not an abuse of his public office to drive drunk. However, it does call his judgment into question, and leaves him vulnerable on the question of cutting the province's Drinking Driving Counterattack program, or on his plans to increase the availablility of liquor in the province -- especially on its ferries, ferries which are supposed to be a part of the provincial highway system.

He should realize that if he wants citizens to give him some forgiveness and compassion, his government, through its agencies and programs, should be ready to show that same compassion in how it deals with those British Columbians who have had personal failings and require public assistace -- and especiually those who need help because of circumstances beyond their control. This means reconsidering some of the province's new welfare rules. It also would be politically smart for Campbell to put more money into substance abuse treatment programs, for both alcohol and drugs.

Of course, pursuing a more compassionate agenda would put him at odds with his party's sizable right wing. Okay, maybe Schreck's right -- maybe Gordon Campbell is political toast.

The first formal public-opinion polls following Gordon Campbell's drunk-driving arrest are in, and things are looking questionable for Gordon Campbell.

An Ipsos-Reid/CTV poll of 800 adult British Columbians indicates that 50% of respondents think that the premier should resign, 48% do not, 2% are undecided. There were no major age or gender discrepancies in the responses, although those with lower incomes and those in union households were somewhat more likely to say that Campbell should quit. 62% of respondents personally accept the premier's apology; 37% do not. Campbell's personal disapproval rating is at 59%; approval is at 38%. Three-quarters of respondents agreed with the statement "Gordon Campbell is being a hypocrite, because if this incident had happened to any other politician, he would demand their resignation," while over half said that he had lost his moral authority to govern.
Full tables are available here. (PDF file)
The margin of error for Ipsos' 800-person polls is +/- 3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

An overnight poll of 510 adult British Columbians by McIntyre and Mustel for Global News showed that 40% of respondents wanted Campbell to resign, with 42% thinking that he should stay. In this survey 67% of respondents said that they accepted the Premier's apology; 30% did not. The news seems to be that some of those who have accepted the Premier's apology still think that resignation is in order.

Pollster Evi Mustel cautions that public opinion is still emotionally charged and therefore fluid, and it will be the later polls that will indicate just how much damage Gordon Campbell has suffered.

I will add links to more extensive poll results as soon as they are posted to the web.

Again, if you want to get Gordon Campbell mugshot T-shirts, beer mugs, greeting cards, etc., just visit this site. I really don't care if you tell 'em that I sent you.

I wil try to assemble a list of shops in Vancouver selling apparel with the Premier's mug shot over the next couple of days. If you know of any outlet selling mugshot merchandise, please e-mail me.
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